Second new unit of the day

Here’s another unit you’ll want to get used to over the next few years: the lumen. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s (roughly) a measure of brightness. A traditional pearl 60W bulb gives out about 700 lumens.

And this is important, because you’re not going to be able to buy a traditional pearl 60W bulb in Europe for much longer – that’s the theory anyway, though a loophole may help out – and it turns out that manufacturers of low-energy replacements have been misleading us somewhat as to how bright they are, claiming that bulbs are ’60W equivalent’, for example, when in fact they’re quite a bit dimmer.

So, look at the lumens, not the watts, because the watts, they are a-changin’.

And I’d better start stockpiling incandescent bulbs until someone produces a low-energy one that works with the dimmer switches that are throughout my house. Thankfully, they’re not far away…

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The first thing that springs to mind in medical terms with the word ‘Lumen’ is that pertaining to the gut (i.e. the hole in the middle of the tube). This is a place that is usually rather dark, so I was interested to note that, according to Wikipedia at least, the origin of the word is the same. Perhaps in the future endoscopists will be able to tell us how many lumens it takes to illumine your lumen…

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